Like most farmers, we collect machinery. We scour auctions for old contraptions that might help us better remove rocks from soil, or strip kernels from dried corn cobs. Among the machines? Tractors and vehicles. We buy some of them just for parts, as we prefer fixing machines to buying new ones. And then there are the ones we spy and think, “Hmm. Maybe we can find a use for that one day.”
Mabel falls into the latter category. The 1966 Ford panel truck was a Wonder Bread delivery truck for a spell. An electrician used the truck, too. She recently worked for the great Boulder Country Farmers’ Market.
Before the whole COVID deal, we were close to buying the truck. For one, we thought it would be great for moving produce back and forth between our farms and the restaurants and farmers’ market. We also envisioned using the truck out at our farm dinner space, as a means to move around things we need for dinners and events located at different parts of the property.
And then the virus swept across the country. Jill began thinking about the horse-drawn vegetable carts she routinely encountered in the city of Baltimore. They were called Arrabers, and a few still roam Baltimore streets, selling produce to people in neighborhoods.
In England, they were called “costermongers,” a term derived from “costard,” meaning apple, and “monger” which means seller. The first known use of costermonger was in a 1518 publication called Fyfte Eglog of Alexandre Barclay of the cytezene and vpondyshman.
Jill’s inspiration led to Mabel, our bell-jingling, wandering truck packed with everything from arugula and potatoes to lamb tagine, ham steaks, cookie dough, fresh bread and much more. We toyed with naming her “Fyfte Eglog.” Thoughts?
She hit the streets the first week of April, and Boulder neighborhoods quickly took to her pep and sparkle, as well as her magnificent bounty of things everybody needs.
We know the Land of COVID-19 is ephemeral. We all one day will return to restaurant tables and to grocery stores without needing to wear masks. We eagerly anticipate bidding bon voyage to this strange land.
When that happens, however, we do not plan to remove Mabel from her beloved Boulder neighborhoods.
Please follow Mabel at our Instagram handle, @blackcatboulder, to keep up with her peregrinations. We also include Mabel in our newsletter.
Thank you for your support!
If you hear those bells, step outside of your front door and wave. We then will invite you down to meet Mabel and commence filling your home with organic produce from our fields, with meats from livestock that we raise in organic pasture, from chef-prepared dishes and dessert, and a host of other goodies.